Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is committed to promoting tourism promotion initiatives in India and SAARC countries. TW’s Editor spoke to Mr. Young-geul Choi, Director, Korea Tourism Organization, New Delhi on post-pandemic plans and strategies for tourism in South Korea.
- The pandemic has been a major setback for the tourism industry worldwide. How optimistic are you for the industry to revive in the near future?
The pandemic was certainly very challenging, especially for the travel and tourism industry. So we are glad that things are finally getting better. Travel to South Korea started in June, and since then we have been working closely with our partners to promote Korea travel. Although the growth pace will be slower than the pre-pandemic times, we are positive that pre-pandemic levels will be reached by next year.
- Although there has been a rapid escalation in terms of cultural and social exchanges between the two countries and slight growth in tourists travelling to South Korea from India, still not many tourists are travelling to Korea yet, when compared to Europe and other parts of the world. What is your view on this?
Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is the national tourism board of South Korea and our New Delhi office is in charge of tourism promotion initiatives in India and neighbouring SAARC countries. Travel to Korea is becoming more popular in India, thus we are preparing our marketing campaigns accordingly.
K-Drama, K-Pop, and K-Culture are now widely consumed in Indian homes. It is a fantastic way to see South Korea’s beauty, people, and culture first-hand. All these factors encourage people to incorporate small aspects of Korean culture into their daily lives and inspire travel to Korea.
We have several consumer events planned for later this year, many in collaboration with other Korean organizations in India, to stay connected to these fans of K-Culture and give them a taste of Korea in India.
We recognize the demand for specially curated packages that include K-Pop and K-drama-related tourist spots. In order to create unique travel offerings for these markets, we are working closely with our OTA and travel agency partners.
- We have seen the Korea Tourism Organization taking various digital initiatives interacting with the trade partners and virtual tours etc. How different do you think the future of travel would look like and what could be the probable challenges?
South Korea is one of the most digitally-advanced nations and we try to highlight that by using innovative and engaging marketing techniques.
And, as marketing strategies evolve, so do people’s expectations and needs for travel. The pandemic especially brought about a need for upgraded safety and hygiene standards. Sustainability is also a priority for many people, even while travelling.
With all of this in mind, Korea Travel Organization has curated a list of 125 safe travel places so that tourists can have a worry-free vacation while also taking into account the evolving safety and hygiene standards. The list includes destinations that have been endorsed by local tourism boards and examined by security specialists and travel industry professionals.
Using this list as a guide, we are collaborating with our travel partners to promote specifically designed travel packages.
- What are your plans in the near future in improving the tourism perspective between South Korea and India?
Since our office is in charge of promoting travel to South Korea, we are continuously considering new strategies for marketing while maintaining our ties with industry partners. We also consider opinions and suggestions from our partners as we search for ways to streamline and expand travel options to South Korea.